Friday, 30 December 2011

24-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested over a bikie shootout at an Adelaide restaurant that sent patrons ducking for cover.

 The man was detained at a suburban Adelaide address yesterday without incident. Police said he had been taken to the city watchhouse where he was expected to be charged with acts to endanger life.

The man was injured in the December 18 incident, which police believe was sparked by an internal dispute among members of the Comancheros bikie gang. A small group were dining at Caffe Paesano when they allegedly were approached by the arrested man.
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Police won't confirm who fired the first shot, but witnesses told media outlets that the man who began the shooting was hit in the leg as others returned fire.

Images of the man leaving the restaurant were released in a bid to track him down.

Police Commissioner Mal Hyde said the arrest was the result of the dedicated efforts of police from the crime gangs taskforce.

The shootout was the most serious in a number of shootings across Adelaide in recent months involving bikie gangs.

In other incidents, the head of the Comancheros, Vince Focarelli, was shot in the leg in the third attempt on his life in recent years.

Detectives were also continuing to investigate the shooting in September of the son of a former senior Finks member, after several masked men burst into the man's home and opened fire. It remains unclear if the boy was the intended target.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Boxing training run by the head of the Rebels motorcycle gang is a "thinly disguised recruiting tool" for children as young as 8

Boxing training run by the head of the Rebels motorcycle gang is a "thinly disguised recruiting tool" for children as young as 8, says Whangarei's top cop, Inspector Paul Dimery.

But Hohepa Rudolf, a kaumatua with the Smeatons Drive Community Hall Group. which has provided a small Raumanga hall for the boxing training, yesterday accused Mr Dimery of being "unfair and naughty" in trying to dictate behaviour in the south Whangarei suburb.

Mr Dimery had a clear message about not tolerating the gang when he addressed Whangarei District Council's monthly meeting this week, asking the community to reject gangs and allow the police to help.

"Gangs offer nothing but misery to your children. They offer cannabis, methamphetamine and violence. If you truly want that for your children, invite these people into your community. If you don't, police are here to assist and give advice," Mr Dimery said.

"To those communities who allow them to intergrate themselves by offering boxing lessons at your local halls, I can only offer my sincere sympathies for your gullibility.

He said gangs continued to "tax" each other.

Unpaid drug debts resulted in home invasions, which ultimately lead to more work for police and had neighbourhoods in constant fear.

After the meeting, Mr Dimery told the Northern Advocate the training had been going on for about six months in the Smeaton Community Hall at Raumanga and some of the children being trained by JJ Hepi, the leader of the Rebels gang, were as young as eight.

Concerned members of the community had approached police, but when Mr Dimery asked to be part of a community meeting his request was declined by "self-appointed" community leaders, who said they supported the boxing training by the gang leader.

"I don't believe they talk for the whole community,"Mr Dimery said.

The issue was not about boxing, as there were positives that came out of the sport.

"This is about gangs recruiting," he said.

Mr Rudolf said he would get the Police Commissioner's opinion on Mr Dimery's "unfair and naughty" statements before commenting on the use of the hall as a boxing gym.

"I'm not happy with the way he [Mr Dimery] has handled this. He should have come and spoken to us."

Use of the Smeatons Drive hall involved one man, not a gang.

"He hasn't done anything to us. Until he does we will try to work with him," Mr Rudolph said.

Raumanga people wanted to prevent crime, he said, but he didn't want Mr Dimery "telling me what to do in my community".

Otangarei Trust head and former Black Power member Martin Kaipo told the Advocate some community leaders could be naive, innocent or ignorant of the hidden intentions behind the gym.

"They [Rebels gang leaders] say they are just motorcycle enthusiasts, but some have been jailed for involvement with methamphetamine," he said.

"They have been trying to get a foothold in Whangarei.

"They tried in Otangarei and the majority of us are well aware of what is going on behind the scenes."

The Smeatons Drive hall is owned by the Whangarei District Council, which leases it to the community group.

Council group manager district living, Paul Dell, said that if the hall was not being vandalised and community group members were comfortable with its use the council had to be careful "it didn't jump in to decide whether some individual was suitable to use the hall".

Earlier this year the Rebels motorcycle gang moved into a building in Porowini Ave, a commercial area in Whangarei.

During Easter Weekend, patched members of the Rebels from New Zealand and Australian chapters held their first motorcycle run from the newly established Whangarei base and held an open day for the public.

Police said it was a publicity stunt to hide the fact they were recruiting members.

The gang claimed they were just a social riding group and are helping troubled youth in the area.

By July, after heavy police scrutiny, the Rebels gang had left the Porowini Ave property.

Adelaide was in the grip of a bikie war or that police had lost the battle against violent gangs.

Shots fired at Adelaide restaurant

At least one person is injured after shots were fired into an Adelaide restaurant in a gang-related attack.
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A bullethole in ice cream counter remains a reminder of the gunfight at Caffe paesano. Picture: Chris Mangan
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THE gunman who terrorised O'Connell St diners in the latest battle in Adelaide's bikie war was lurking outside Caffe Paesano eight hours before he fired on his Comancheros targets.

A witness to the Sunday night shooting in the busy restaurant said he had seen the man, believed to be a Hells Angels member, at the North Adelaide cafe at lunchtime that day.

Like the frightened diners who ducked under tables as the bikies returned fire, the witness said he did not want to be identified.

Police yesterday said the shootout on one of Adelaide's most popular dining strips - and just over 1km from where hundreds of families enjoyed Christmas carols by the Torrens - is linked to the shooting of Comancheros president Vince Focarelli.

But police Assistant Commissioner Grant Stevens rejected suggestions Adelaide was in the grip of a bikie war or that police had lost the battle against violent gangs.

"I wouldn't suggest we've lost the battle against bikies," he said. "This is not a bikie war when we have rival gangs drawing a line in the sand, so to speak."

Focarelli remains in hospital under guard after being shot by an unknown gunman at Munno Para West about midnight on Thursday.

The former leader of the New Boys street gang, Focarelli had surgery for a leg wound on Friday in Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The Caffe Paesano shooting, shortly after 9.30pm on Sunday as eateries on the strip were beginning to close, was the fourth gun attack in seven days involving bikie gangs in Adelaide.

"We believe these are isolated incidents that happened to occur in close (time) proximity but we know they are separate and distinct incidents involving different groups," Mr Stevens said.

"It might not be with the sanction of the group itself, but as individuals, they are violent people and as groups they are more violent.

"This is not something that has just arisen in the last few weeks. There has been incidents of violence between outlaw motorcycle gang members and, unfortunately, there will continue to be incidents of violence.

"Our job is to minimise that as much as possible and take action when these occur to hold those people to account."

It is understood police know the identity of those involved in the Paesano shootout.

Other recent shootings have included:

THREE masked men firing shots into an empty Burton house, owned by a man with bikie links, about 12.30am on Saturday.

AN UNKNOWN gunman fired a dozen shots, believed to be from a 9mm handgun, into the luxury Glenelg North home of George Polites, 57, about 3.30am on December 11, but police say that was not related to Sunday's attack.

FOCARELLI shot in the leg at a Munno Para West home and escaping by smashing through the window of a neighbouring house.

A MAN who received a single gunshot wound to his right knee in the southern suburbs on Sunday is refusing to co-operate with police.

Police would not reveal which bikie club the cafe gunman was linked to, but it is understood to be the Hells Angels. The two clubs have a historic feud in the eastern states. He walked off O'Connell St to within 3m of the Comancheros members and fired at least one shot from a "small handgun" while they sat at an outside table.

Customers and staff at the cafe ducked under tables for safety, and were lucky not to be caught in the crossfire as one bullet shattered a glass display cabinet in the restaurant.

One of the Comancheros returned fire, hitting the gunman in the leg.

He fled, heading west on Tynte St and was chased by one of his targets. The chase was captured on CCTV and the footage has been seized by police.

More shots rang out as the men ran through O'Connell St to Tynte St but police would not confirm the number fired or the calibre of handguns used. The injured gunman has yet to seek medical attention.

North Adelaide residents said they heard "five or six" gunshots, which some people initially thought were fireworks.

Mr Stevens said the cafe owners were co-operating with police.

"I will not make any conclusions in relation to whether it's payback or how it is related," he said.

"We have information suggesting to us that the people involved are connected to each other. Both of those people have gone to ground and have not come forward."

Mr Stevens said street shootings and rampant violence by bikies occurred across the country and was not "unique to Adelaide".

"The people involved are known to each other, this is not a random incident (but) I can't elaborate any further," he said.

"This may be the first time it's happened in O'Connell St and in a coffee shop, but we've seen shooting incidents in other public venues in the CBD of Adelaide. This is not something we want happening in South Australia."

Mr Stevens said police were focused on the North Adelaide shooting and the hunt for the people who shot the son of Mark Sandery.

Seven extra officers dedicated to investigating the shooting will join the 44 officers in the Criminal Gangs Taskforce.

Police say the latest shooting in Adelaide is linked with last week's attack on Comancheros leader Vince Focarelli.

Blood is visible near the scene of the attack at a North Adelaide restaurant, but the injured party has not been located.

Police say shots were fired about 9:40pm on Sunday at and near Caffe Paesano in O'Connell Street.

They say two men linked to the Comancheros motorcycle club were sitting at the eatery when they shot at a third man, who returned the fire.
Photo: Blood near scene but no victim located by police (ABC: Robyn Powell)

Police are hunting a man in his 30s, who fled west along Tynte Street toward Wellington Square.

Police think there were also witnesses who may have more information.

There have been three shootings in Adelaide in recent days with links to gangs.

Police say the latest had a connection with the late-night ambush on Focarelli, which left him with a leg injury.

When we do propose strong measures in this regard and we receive criticism for them I'd ask members of the public to cast their minds back to the events of this week to remind themselves of why we take these steps
Premier Jay Weatherill

Assistant Commissioner Grant Stevens says those involved in last week and last night's shootings have gone to ground, hampering the investigation.

"This is an incident which is related to the first shooting incident and we are continuing to investigate," he told reporters.

"I will not make any conclusions in relation to whether it's payback or how it is related, but we do have information that is suggesting to us that the people involved are connected with each other."
Gangs targeted

South Australian Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond is concerned about the number of shootings in public areas.

"Not only do we have an increase in shootings but they're becoming more brazen and more public and more likely to involve innocent civilians caught in the crossfire," she said.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill says a third gang-related shooting in recent days justifies the Government's focus on dismantling criminal gangs.

He says revised legislation to target criminal gangs will go before State Parliament in the new year.

"When we do propose strong measures in this regard and we receive criticism for them I'd ask members of the public to cast their minds back to the events of this week to remind themselves of why we take these steps," he said.

Friday, 16 December 2011

A MAN is in hospital with facial injuries after a violent brawl erupted in inner Sydney overnight.

 The fight broke out between two groups outside a tapas restaurant on Pyrmont Street at about 12.40am (AEDT) today, police said.

During the melee, a man received injuries to an eye socket and facial lacerations and was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for treatment.

Another man was treated at the scene after a bottle was thrown at his head.

An 18-year-old man from Umina Beach was arrested and was allegedly found with several ecstasy pills.

He was charged with possessing a prohibited drug and possessing a prescribed restricted substance.

He has been granted conditional bail to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on January 17.

THREE people, one with links to the Hells Angels bikie gang, have been charged with drug and firearms offences

THREE people, one with links to the Hells Angels bikie gang, have been charged with drug and firearms offences after South Australian police seized cash, drugs, guns and explosives.

Police raided four properties in and around Bordertown and Keith, south of Adelaide, yesterday.

In one of the houses they found a concealed compartment in a bedroom where four guns, explosive devices, chemicals and cash were hidden.

A 27-year-old Bordertown man was charged with drug and firearm offences and will appear in Mt Gambier Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

A 36-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman, both from Keith, were charged with drug trafficking and firearms offences and were bailed to appear at Mt Gambier Magistrates Court at a later date.

Police said one of the two men was a Hells Angels associate.

POLICE say they have made a "forensic breakthrough" in the hunt for the gunman who shot the 11-year-old son of a notorious former Finks bikie

POLICE say they have made a "forensic breakthrough" in the hunt for the gunman who shot the 11-year-old son of a notorious former Finks bikie in October.

Crime Gangs Detective Inspector Paul Yeomans said evidence found inside the former home of convicted criminal Mark Sandery has put police a step closer to finding the armed men who broke in to the Milliary Rd house and shot the boy while he slept.

Det-Insp Paul Yeomans said forensic experts had searched the house for evidence several times since the shooting.

The intruders burst in and fired two shots through the doorway, both bullets hitting the boy in the leg. He later had surgery in hospital.

Sandery was not home during the attack and later refused to co-operate with police. He publicly vowed to take revenge for the shooting, saying: "We'll find you, you f***ing dogs. You hurt kids . . . you'll see what happens to you."

The shooting sparked fears of a bikie war and reprisals, which were later dispelled by senior Finks members.


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